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Grand Award

Second Place
HS-MED16

Developing a Microscopy Analysis Method to Accurately Calculate Brain Microstructural Anisotropy

Medicine, Health, and Disease
Lydia Behr

Grade:
12
Teacher:
Matt Johnston

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a severe neurological disorder that alters memory, damages the brain’s cells and connections. Investigating these brain changes is key to working towards early diagnosis. This can be achieved by improving brain imaging methods like diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI), which reveals microstructural features such as cell shape and size. This research focuses on validating dMRI-detected microstructural abnormalities as potential AD early diagnosis markers. Analyzing true fiber orientation under the microscope typically validates these abnormalities, yet there's no established method that accurately accounts for microstructure. So, this work aimed to implement a microscopy analysis method that outputs microstructural anisotropy, which is the shape of cellular processes. Utilizing a toolbox tailored to mathematical interpretations of structure and anisotropy, MATLAB programs were developed and tested at varied smoothing values, optimizing for different relevant tissue stains in AD pathology. Ultimately, this method seeks to precisely validate dMRI-detected abnormalities, offering insights into cellular changes and disease progression in brains with AD.


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Research paper

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